It’s 2019. Your small business definitely needs a website. Yes, your brick-and-mortar shop needs a website. Yes, your online store should be your website. Now that we agree, what happens?
To build your own small business website, you need to get all of your figurative ducks in a row first. This means branding and content. You need a marketing strategy, content layout, and, oh yeah, branding.
Even if you hire a company to build your small business website, they will ask you tons of questions. To be a better client and speed up launch of your site, you should gather the following.
Developers I recommend:
- Write your marketing strategy.
- Establish and/or confirm logo and color scheme.
- Write Copy for Website in Google Docs including 3 blog posts for site launch.
- Purchase Managed WordPress Hosting Plan.
- Choose and install theme, plugins.
- Get a Google Analytics UA (Universal Code).
- Launch your website.
- Set up Google Alerts for your name and/or business name.
- Publish once a month on your new blog.
Engage with current and potential clients while allowing the website to serve as a primary place for discovery and validation from word of mouth and search-based referrals.
Before you build your small business website, you need to confirm or establish color and font pairings in a digital format. Colors need to be in hex codes and you need the names of the fonts you are using.
Also, ensure your logo is digitized at the proper resolution. Ensure there is a square version of your logo for a profile photo on current and future social networks as well as your website.
At the very least you need:
- Primary Color Hex Code
- Secondary Color Hex Code
- Tertiary Color Hex Code
- Heading 1 Font
- Heading 2 Font
- Paragraph Font
You have other things to do as a small business owner. You may want to hire someone. Your time is more valuable than trying to learn design. If you build the site yourself, at the very least I urge you to hire a designer to help with this section. It will be a better use of your marketing budget.
I recommend the following people that I have worked with and actually seen their work. Seriously, it makes a huge difference.
Website Content: Words
Design is nice but people like words. Google likes words (around 300 at least). Siri and Alexa want words. Did I mention you need words?
You need to write about your business. Write this content in Google Docs so it’s ready when you start building your site (or hire a developer to do it for you).
Start with the basic pages that should be in the main navigation:
People get stuck with content for their blog posts. We all have trouble there. But sit down and think about the questions you’re always answering or things you wish your clients knew. I have a worksheet on this post.
Website Content: Photos
Now, words are awesome. You still need photos. Each blog post should have a photo. Your about page should have photos of you. If it’s a family business, have a photo of you with your family. You need photos of your products. You need photos of your process, your office, things that interest people.
A post just on photos (like Kinsta did here), is probably warranted but not by me. My basic advice is to rename your image files based on something that makes sense. If, God forbid, you just email a bunch of photos to your web developer, then at least make the subject line of the email make sense. It shouldn’t be IMG8675309.jpg with a blank subject line.
These days, most of the photos you want for your site are probably on your phone. Work with your web developer and ask her how she wants them sent.
There is no perfect time: just start.
Even if you hire a WordPress Developer, you will still need to write content, provide photos, logos, and/or make decisions on branding. So get that done first.
If you start with the basic page content and it takes you 30 minutes, that is 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you spend 30 minutes each day completing one at a time, you’ll be done by Friday. You can always edit text later. Or hire an editor like Cate.
Just do it.